Moving Wall Moves Vietnam Vets

The names on the moving wall go on and on. Air Force Veteran David Goodwin knows four of them from his days spent on B-52 bombers and from his old neighborhood in Miami.

"Three of 'em were crewmembers at various times of mine in the B-52 and one of 'em was from my hometown.  Thought about the times we had together, good times," Goodwin says.

Good times are what Charles Brown tries to remember of his 11-year Army career. With a 39-year-old picture of his mentor in hand, Brown came to the wall to get closer to Sgt. James Lester, killed in action in 1967.

"He was such an influence in my life to be a good soldier and I knew from the bottom of his heart that's what he wanted all of us to be in a position I was, in he gave his life," Brown says.

Rodney Wilkinson graduated with Howard Cody in the Gulfport High School class of 1952. Cody was one of many of Wilkinson's buddies who died in the war. Cody's plane was shot down in 1963 and his body was never recovered. Seeing his name and those of so many others angers Wilkinson.

"What a waste. I blame 99 percent of the names on this wall on the American politicians. When we had people dying, gettin' shot at over there, Congress didn't think it was a war cause they weren't bein' shot at."

Wilkinson says what's really sad is those who fell in combat were too young to give their lives for a cause that some say is still unclear 26 years after the war ended.

The wall opens to the public Thursday at 12:30 p.m. It will be on the USM campus until November 7th.